Tuesday, January 03, 2017

And So It Begins: New Year, New Knitting

After that wonderful long vacation, filled with many hours of reading, sleeping, sitting in the sun, and (of course!) knitting, it was back to work and school for us today. Fittingly, the weather was dark and rainy. I would have rather stayed at home in my comfy clothes with a cup of tea, a movie, and my knitting, but at least it was a relatively quiet day to get caught up because about a third of the people in the office weren't back yet.

Instead of getting gloomy over having to go back to the day job, let's talk about knitting, shall we? Shortly before the end of the year (and by that I mean about three hours before midnight on New Year's Eve), I finished my last project of the year, the socks you've see a few times here:

While these don't look all that fancy -- they are stockinette socks with ribbed cuffs and afterthought heels -- they were knit in quite a different way. I'm in the process of writing up the pattern and hope to have it available before too long. I will say that you need to enjoy Kitchener stitch to knit these, though chances are you do if you knit socks with afterthought heels.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the yarn, which I received in a swap package last spring. The base feels familiar (I have a feeling a lot of indie dyers use it), so that was nice, but my favorite thing about this yarn was the way that the stripes went from dark to light to dark again. Stripes are already rather potato chip-y to knit, but these subtle color transitions were even more so.

My first two projects of the new year were rather boring but useful: two new dishcloths for the kitchen. I had stuck a couple of balls of kitchen cotton in my suitcase just in case, and it turned out to be a good move. I cast on the first dishcloth just before bed on New Year's Eve (our last day away) and ended up finishing it on the plane ride home after I realized that I hadn't yet downloaded the Kindle book I'd planned to read. I promptly cast on for the second that evening and finished it up yesterday afternoon while I was cooking chicken soup for dinner.

The pattern is the ubiquitous Ballband Dishcloth, and the colors of Lily Sugar'n Cream I used were Kitchen Breeze and Strawberry. I reversed the colors for the second cloth and also added two additional stripes in an effort to use up as much yarn as possible. Seeing as I mainly use these dishcloths for wiping off the counter after I do the dishes, the larger size is actually quite useful. I've still got to weigh the cloth to figure out how much yarn I used for it, but it's rather satisfying to get two good-sized dishcloths out of two relatively small balls of yarn and still have some leftovers to use as scrap yarn.

I have, in fact, already put some of that leftover yarn to good use: holding the sleeve stitches for Rainbow's Dancing Leaves Cardigan. I split the sleeves off yesterday afternoon (right after finishing the second dishcloth), and now that I've moved to the relatively simple body, it's become my lunch break project.

Colors aren't at all accurate, but the flash wiped out all the cabling

I'm using just one ball of yarn at a time now (the other ball will be used for the sleeves), so there's less fiddling with strands every other row. I think this will move relatively fast now. There is a bit of waist shaping, but I have a good stretch before I get to that, so the only thing I have to remember to do is the buttonholes.

This evening I'll likely be casting on a new project. A very dear friend -- we've known each other since we were about 6 years old and were bridesmaids in each other's weddings -- is expecting her first child, a girl, next month, so naturally I felt the need to knit her a big present. Usually I knit baby sweaters and/or hats as gifts, but this friend deserves something a little bigger than that, so she's getting a blanket. I bought the Sweet Gemma pattern by my friend Triona Murphy when she released it in the fall and also splurged on five skeins of Yarn Hollow Tor DK in a deep red shade when my LYS was closing. Yesterday I wound it all in anticipation of casting on:

Although the pattern calls for worsted weight, I think this should work quite well, and I'm not too concerned it it comes out a bit smaller than it's supposed to (it's superwash anyway, so I'll bet I can stretch it out a bit if I need to). Here's hoping the squares knit up fast enough that I can finish before the baby arrives!

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